Rugby League Partnership Progress: Insights from Wigan Warriors CEO

Wigan Warriors CEO Discusses Ongoing IMG Partnership in Rugby League

Radlinski Praises Grading Criteria, Acknowledges Slower-Than-Desired Progress

In the summer of 2022, it was confirmed that the global sports marketing agency IMG would be partnering with the sport of rugby league to try and make it more ‘commercially viable’. Two years into this process, Wigan Warriors Chief Executive Officer Kris Radlinski has shared his perspective on the ongoing partnership.

Back in May 2022, IMG announced that they had joined forces with the RFL and Super League. Their goal was to “strategically re-position the sport to maximize its commercial potential for long-term growth, build deeper relationships with fans and attract new audiences”. Since then, the sport has undergone significant changes, though fans and pundits have questioned the progress made under this new partnership.

“One of the key measures introduced by IMG was a grading criteria that will determine the composition of Super League in 2025 – a decision that has proved unpopular among many fans. However, Radlinski praised this move, stating that it asks all teams to raise their standards and ensure the stability of club foundations, which he believes is crucial for the sport’s future.”

Radlinski, who has enjoyed a successful career both on the field and as Wigan Warriors’ CEO, acknowledged that the partnership’s progress has been slower than he would have liked. He explained that the grading process has been “challenging” to implement, but emphasized that it is just one aspect of IMG’s long-term plans for the sport.

The Wigan Warriors CEO expressed confidence in IMG’s expertise, stating that the company has demonstrated an understanding of the sport’s challenges. He believes that once clubs have reached an adequate level through the grading process, there will be scope for further development and growth under the partnership.

While the pace of change has been slower than some would prefer, Radlinski remains optimistic about the potential of the IMG partnership to enhance the commercial viability and overall future of rugby league.

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